Bethany Emory
Adult education
Material Type:
Curriculum Education
Creative Commons Attribution

Course Alignments

Academic Policies, Terminology, and Support Resources

Academic Policies, Terminology, and Support Resources


 free digital textbook serves as a companion to EDUC 1300/1200/1100 Learning Framework: Effective Strategies for College Success at Austin Community College. This book is an accessible and relevant way to explore the research and theory in the psychology of learning, cognition, and motivation as well as factors that impact learning, and the presentation of specific learning strategies. This Open Educational Resource was remixed from a previous version found at by Heather Syrett and Laura Lucas.

Senior Contributing Author and Editor

Heather Syrett, Associate Professor and Assistant Department Chair

Student Development and General Studies

Austin Community College

Contributing Authors

Edgar Granillo, Professor and Assistant Department Chair

Student Development and General Studies

Austin Community College 

Laura Lucas, Adjunct Professor

Student Development and General Studies

Austin Community College 

Tobin Quereau, Adjunct Professor

Student Development and General Studies

Austin Community College

It is maintained by Bethany Emory, Dean of teaching and Learning Support at Southwestern Community College. This free digital textbook serves as a companion to ACA-111 in the NCCCS. 

Important Tools and Documents

The Syllabus

In every course, your instructor will share an important document called the syllabus.  It is a combination of a road map to guide your activities and a contract to describe how the course will function run relation to important topics like late work, grading, attendance, and communication. 

What's a Syllabus?

Important elements in a syllabus are:

  • Instructor information - This will include their posted office hours and preferred methods for communication.  
  • Required Course Materials and Supplies - This are will include required texts, and technology or other equipment you may need to complete the course.  
  • Policies - Your syllabus will contain a mix of college policies such as attendance, academic integrity and code of conduct, as well as course policies such as late work, expected participation and grading.  
  • Class Schedule - Sometimes included in a separate document, the schedule will include due dates for assignments and exam dates. Be aware however that this information can change throughout the course of the term, but your instructor will communicate those changes with you.  

Depending on which college courses you take, some syllabi (that is the plural term for more than one syllabus) may be more detailed or will structure information in different ways. But each syllabus will cover at least the four topics we listed above.

In on campus classes, your instructors may take time to review important elements of the syllabus, or often in online classes you will be asked to complete an activity which shows that you have reviewed the expectations.  Some instructors will print and hand out paper copies of the syllabus on the first day of each class. However, it is also common for instructors to put their syllabi in Moodle.  If you do not know where to find the syllabus for any of your classes, your instructor can help. Make sure to ask them as soon as possible to ensure you can prepare effectively for the rest of the semester. Even if your syllabus is posted in Moodle, you may benefit from printing out the syllabus for each class and keeping it in a handy location. Should you hit a technology glitch this will mean you will always have your faculty contact information and important dates quickly at hand.  

College Catalog

The college catalog provides a one stop resource for determining the courses you will need to complete during your SCC career, college policies you will be expected to adhere to, and college resources that can assist you along the way.  

The information in the college catalogs changes as degree programs, school rules and students' expectations change. These changes make the catalog just as useful to current students as it is to new students. Catalogs are usually published every year, so it is often helpful to make sure you're using the most current version. Don't worry though, if a required course changes in your program, your advisor can also help you complete the program as it was setup up when you started your program.  Specific topics covered include:

  • Overview of the college
  • Availability of financial aid and specific financial aid programs
  • Academic expectations and policies
  • Degree programs and course descriptions
  • Tuition
  • Student supports offered

College Handbook

Your college handbook provides all the important policies, dates and resources in a condensed format.  Printed copies of the handbook can be picked up in the admissions office, the student support services office, the library, the learning assistance center, the academic division offices, and often from your instructors on campus.  The online version can be accessed here:

College Website / MySCC

MySCC is the college's electronic resources portal and provides easy access to the most important electronic tools you will use.  Here you can find your email account, login to your online courses, pay your tuition or search for classes.  Your MySCC password allows access into all of these resources, so keeping it up to date is important to be sure you can always stay in touch with your classmates and instructors.  


  • It is your responsibility as a student to access, read and monitor improtance campus documents and publications
  • The syllabus is an important guiding document available for all courses.

College Terminology

College TerminologyDecorative image of a dictionary open to the letter h

College comes with a language of its own.  This section seeks to define some common terms used in college conversations surrounding your academic progress toward a credential.  This section will begin to define these terms, however we will explore many of these items as the course develops.

  • Academic Advisor

Academic advisors are often experienced professional in the field in which they teach and guide students.  Their knowledge and experience is helpful as students evaluate and reach their education or career goals.

  • Academic Forgiveness

The academic forgiveness plan allows students to receive forgiveness for poor academic performace when returning to college after an absence.  (You can read more about this in the resources section below)

  • Academic Integrity

Academic Dishonesty is defined as taking or acquiring possession of any academic material (test information, research papers, notes, etc.) from a member of the college staff or student body without permission; receiving or giving help during test; copying from another student’s test paper; using, during a test, materials not authorized by the person giving the test; collaborating with another student during a test without authority; knowingly using, buying, selling, stealing, transporting or soliciting in whole or part the contents of an unadministered or administered test; substituting for another student or permitting another student to substitute relative to a test or examination; bribing another person to obtain an unadministered or administered test or information about an unadministered or administered test; appropriation of another’s work and the unacknowledged incorporation of that work in one’s own written work offered for credit (plagiarism); unauthorized collaboration with another person in preparing written work offered for credit (collusion).”

  • Associate Degree

An associate degree is an approximately two-year degree, completed following High School. Some Associate degrees are designed to allow for transfer to a four year university (Associate of Arts in College Transfer, Associate of Science in College Transfer and Associate of Fine Arts in College Transfer). 

  • Campus Cupboard

The campus cupboard provides food options to support SCC students and combat hunger.  Food can be picked up, or donations dropped off at either the Jackson or Macon campuses.  

  • Certificate

Certificates are short term programs that can often be completed in less than a year. Students may choose to complete certificates on the path to completing their degrees to increase employability options.

  • Counselor

Peter Buck is the Student Counselor and is available to help with stress management, time management and other problems. Call 828.339.4352 or email to make an appointment.

  • Diploma

These technical programs can be completed often in less time than an Associate Degree and specialize in developing career skills.  These programs often do not require completion of general education courses.  

  • Drop / Add

The Drop / Add or Schedule Adjustment period occurs early in the semester and specific dates are published in the college catalog.  During this short window students can drop a class with limited financial penalty or can add another class.

  • Emergency Fund

SCC’s Student Emergency Fund is available to help students get through situations that are unexpected. This program is ideal when you have small, time-sensitive financial needs such as fuel for your vehicle. To apply for assistance, contact Kathy Posey of the SCC Foundation: or 828.339.4227.

  • Finish Line Grant

The Finish Line grant is available to students enrolled in health sciences or career technologies programs who have completed at least 50% of their program with a 2.0 GPA. To request funds, contact the SCC Financial Aid office at 828-339-4438 to take the next steps.

  • Moodle

Moodle is the college's learning management system where its online classes are housed.  Materials and information for classes held on campus is also contained in Moodle.  This tool can be accessed through the MySCC portal.  

  • Office Hours

All SCC instructors schedule time outside of class to meet with students. These are called office hours. During this time frame you can meet with your instructors to ask questions, discuss materials presented in class, or other related interests you may have. 

  • Plagiarism

Plagiarism – The intentional theft or unacknowledged use of another’s work or ideas. Plagiarism includes but is not limited to: a) paraphrasing or summarizing another’s words or works without proper acknowledgement; b) using direct quotes of material without proper acknowledgment; or c) purchasing or using a paper or presentation written or produced by another person. If a student is uncertain about what constitutes plagiarism, he/she should discuss with the class instructor. 

  • Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is a measure used by the federal and state governments to ensure sure financial aid recipients are making progress towards completing their degree, diploma or certificate. 

  • Withdrawal

Removal from a class prior to its completion.  Withdrawal can be initiated by the student or their instructor.  


  • Getting familiar with the langage of college is important to ensure your success
  • You advisor, instructors, and all other campus staff are here to assist as you become familiar with how the college operates. 

College Resources

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Academic Resources (Finding a Tutor, Using the Library Resources etc)

Academic Resources


E-Learning offers students in-person services and online tools to gain confidence learning online while at SCC.

Contact information for E-Learning:

Holt Library

For help with academic research and locating accurate information, please do not hesitate to contact Holt Library. Holt Librarians are always understanding and ready to help you find the information you need whether it’s thinking through a topic, figuring out appropriate search terms, or getting books sent to your campus from any library! Although physically located on Jackson campus, the Holt Librarians are available through email, phone, or chat to help you start or polish your research. Holt Library not only has books to check out, but hotspots, laptops, graphing calculators, webcams, skeletons, DVDs, board games, video games, and VR headsets too!  

To get started, please activate your SCC ID as your library card at or stop by the library anytime.

Holt Library Overview

Contact Information for the Library:

Student Support Services

The Student Support Service program is a positive community of support that enables students to achieve their academic goals via academic and financial support. This grant-funded program serves 150 students a year. Services for include:

  • Information for students (online) 

  • Financial Literacy workshops (online)

Contact Information for Student Support Services:

Learning Assistance

The mission of the Learning Assistance Area is to foster the development of critical-thinking skills and positive attitudes that enable students to become successful, lifelong learners. Skills-based tutoring is used to accomplish this goal.

Free, drop-in or by appointment assistance is provided by tutors in one of the on campus location or fully online.  You may mesh with a tutor who is currently enrolled and has recently had success in the same class you are in, or from a seasoned professional in the field.  Tutors can also help you to strengthen basic skills, such as test preparation, computer/Internet use, reading, and research.

Contact Information for Learning Assistance:

Career Services

SCC Career Services offers all students with both in-person services and online tools to explore careers, identify academic pathways to achieve their goals, and become successfully employed contributors to the regional community and economy.

A professional career counselor will help you identify goals, develop a plan to gain experience and work-ready skills, build a resume, write letters of application, and practice interviewing. Our online tools will help you define your interests, research careers, practice skills and look for jobs.

Contact Information for the Career Services:

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Financial Resources (Connecting with Financial Aid, Finding a Part-time job, Applying for Scholarships)

Financial Resources

Financial Aid

The purpose of financial aid is to provide assistance to students who, without such aid, would be unable to attend college. Financial aid at Southwestern Community College is available in the form of grants, scholarships, work-study, and federal student loans to help meet a student’s financial need.

To get started, click this link to review the videos in the Applying for Financial Aid Playlist

Contact Information for the Financial Aid:


Scholarships are gift money that does not need to be repaid as long as the student meets the eligibility criteria. Scholarships may be awarded based on financial need or some type of merit (such as academic), or a combination of the two.

In addition, click this link to access videos from Financial Aid TV  (Link opens in a New Window) which may be helpful in developing your applications.

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Resources For Special Events (Applying for Academic Forgiveness, Filing a Grade Appeal, Changing or Dropping a Class, SAP - Satisfactory Academic Progress)

Resources for Special Events

Academic Forgiveness

Any student who meets the following criteria may submit, in writing to the Office of the Executive Vice President for Instructional Services, a request for academic forgiveness.

The student must have experienced a lapse in enrollment at SCC for a minimum of 24 months or two academic years. Upon returning, 12 semester hours of curriculum courses must be completed with a GPA of 3.00 or greater. The request for forgiveness must be submitted during the subsequent semester (excluding summer) after the 12 semester hours have been completed.

If the request is approved, all grades within the requested review period/consecutive terms will be forgiven and cannot be used for GPA (Grade Point Average) computation for credits earned toward graduation requirements. Any forgiven work, if needed for completion of a certificate, degree, or diploma must be retaken. All grades will remain on the student's transcript; however, they will not be factored in the computation of the total GPA. Students may submit only one academic grade forgiveness request.

Changing or Dropping a Class (and Satisfactory Academic Progress SAP)

The add/drop period is defined in the academic calendar. This period traditionally ends within the first few dats of the semester, and assists students if schedule changes are needed.  Schedule changes are permitted during this time without grade penalty and are made on the “Add/Drop/ Withdrawal Form.”  Classes dropped during drop/add may also qualify for a partial refund of tuition.  

Courses dropped by the student after this period will result in a grade of “W.” To withdraw from a course(s), a student should contact his advisor and initiate the “Add/Drop/Withdrawal Form” or submit the form online: If a student withdraws by the official withdrawal date for the semester (published in the academic calendar), the grade received will be a “W.”  No refunds are given for classes dopped following the drop add period, except in documented exceptional cases.  

If a student seeks to withdraw from a course(s) after the official withdrawal date, this may be granted under extenuating circumstances such as serious illness or job transfer and will be considered on an individual basis by the instructor. In addition, should a student fail to maintain attendance and progress in a course, the instructor is required to complete an administrative withdrawal. The grade received will be an “AW.”  .

The “W”  or "AW" will not influence the quality point ratio for the semester. However, withdrawing from courses could affect a student’s eligibility for financial aid. To receive financial aid, the Federal Government requires students to make Satisfactory Academic Progress towards completing a degree or approved program. For more detailed information, consult the Financial Aid TV links on SAP (Link opens in a New Window)

 Satisfactory Academic Progress is measured in two ways:

  1. Students must earn a 2.0 cumulative Grade Point Average, which is consistent with the requirements for graduation or completion of a program.
  2. Students are limited to the number of credit hours they may attempt before finishing a program of study. That limit is measured as 150% of the credit hours required for the student’s current program. Therefore, in order to be on track to complete a program before financial aid ends, SCC requires students to complete 70% of the courses they have attempted on a cumulative basis.

If a student is not making Satisfactory Academic Progress, he will be notified and placed on Financial Aid Warning for the next semester he is in attendance so that he will have an op­portunity to regain Satisfactory Academic Progress. He will receive any financial aid for which he is eligible during this Financial Aid Warning term. Students who receive financial aid should always consult the Financial Aid Office before withdrawing from a course.

Grade Appeals

The grade appeal process applies only to final course grades. Students are allowed to appeal final grades for three reasons:

  1. Discrimination based upon student membership in a protected class including race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, sex, age, and disability.
  2. Arbitrary application of standards and procedures of grading. 
  3. Calculation error.

In the event a student appeals a grade that prevents progression in a program, the student will be allowed to enroll and attend the following semester pending the outcome of the appeal. If the grade is upheld, the student will be withdrawn and refunded the tuition.

To begin a grade appeal, students must start by appealing the grade to the instructor of record within 10 days of the final grade being posted. If they are not able to resolve the issue, a student may then appeal the grade to the appropriate department chair (if different than the instructor) or dean, within 10 days of the decision of the instructor.  Finally if no resolution can be reached, a student may then appeal the grade to the Executive Vice President for Instruction and Student Services. The decision of the executive vice president is final.


  • There are a wealth of on campus resources designed to assist as you complete your degree
  • Even when out of the ordinary events occur, there are policies available to assist you in staying on path to completing your credential